Johnson & Johnson privy to metal-on-metal hip implant problems long before recall

03-08-2012
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By the time Johnson & Johnson recalled its metal-on-metal, DePuy-brand hip implant in 2010, serious problems with the device had become apparent.

Data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales had revealed that more than a tenth of the implant’s recipients needed a second hip replacement due to device failure. Moreover, a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that recipients of metal-on-metal hip implants had levels of cobalt in their bloodstream 39 times higher than normal, bolstering complaints that metal-on-metal hip implants in general cause metal poisoning.

Despite these red flags, Johnson & Johnson maintained that the DePuy implant was safe, saying its internal studies refuted claims to the contrary. But new reporting by The New York Times suggests that the company knew of the devices’ flaws a year before it recalled them: An e-mail sent by an executive at Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy a year prior to the recall (and recently obtained by the Times) shows that company studies by then had already found that the implants failed prematurely in “significant” numbers. There is no way of knowing how many people received the DePuy implant between when the company learned it wasn’t safe and when it finally pulled the product off the market.

Have you been harmed by a metal-on-metal hip implant or another medical device? Contact Hodes Milman Liebeck for a free case evaluation. We’re aggressive personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers based in Orange County, serving all of California. We have the experience to take on the medical industry and have achieved multi-million dollar verdicts for our clients.

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